Expatriates give vital help to keep economy afloat
Remittance increases to $16.36 billion during July-May, although corona puts strain on inflow
Despite the global economic disruption due to Covid-19 crisis, Bangladeshi expatriates are giving essential prop to the country's economy by sending remittances here.
Market analysts said expatriate workers had continued to send money to their homes to meet family expenses despite the fact that they had been suffering from various crises including financial constraints due to coronavirus pandemic.
Currently many expatriate workers don't have money in their hands as they could not work for a long period of time due to the lockdown but they borrowed money for sending them to their families, they added.
The migrant workers are sending money through different channels including banks, mobile banking and NGOs.
Expatriates have sent $16.36 billion during the July-May period of the current fiscal year (FY) 2019-2020 amid Covid-19 crisis, according to Bangladesh Bank data.
This figure was 8.72 percent higher over the same period of the previous fiscal. The remittance stood at $15.05 billion during the July-May in last fiscal.
Bangladeshi expatriates sent home $1.60 billion in July, $1.44 billion in August, $1.48 billion in September, $1.64 billion in October, $1.55 billion in November and $1.69 billion in December in 2019 as well as $1.64 billion in January, $1.45 billion in February, $1.28 billion in March, $1.09 billion in April and $1.50 billion in May in 2020 respectively.
A central bank official said, "The remittance is known as the best indicator of the economy of Bangladesh but it has decreased due to the virus for the last couple of months."
Currently many countries have relaxed lockdown which has helped to raise remittance inflow in the country, he added.
"Expatriates in the Middle East are still sending money to support their families at home."
He expects this flow will continue in coming months as many countries of the world are going back to normal life by relaxing the lockdown.
Eminent economist Zahid Hussain told the Daily Observer that Bangladeshi expatriates had faced many challenges abroad as coronavirus had almost stopped all activities of the world."
He further said most of the unskilled workers of Bangladesh who mostly work in the Middle East were in fear of losing their jobs as many companies had temporarily been closed with many small businessmen passing critical time due to the virus pandemic.
Remittance has been carrying out a silent economic revolution in Bangladesh since its independence as it has contributed a lot to make economy vibrant, he mentioned.
Remittance has also strengthened the country's foreign exchange reserve to a great extent, he said.
Hussain said the government should take a new plan for the expatriates to overcome the bad situation and provide proper training to create skilled manpower to boost the remittance inflow.